Just How Much is $13 Trillion?

Regardless of your political party or ideological leanings, the notion of the federal government spending $2 trillion, adding to the national debt of nearly $11 trillion already, should make you stop and consider the staggering size of our national tab.

If the irony of using debt-based spending to solve a problem caused by debt-based spending has escaped you, perhaps these fun facts will put things into perspective:

  • If you spent $1 every second, you’d have to keep spending for 412,000 years to get to $13 trillion.  That means you’d have to start shortly after the time human beings first starting using stone tools and fire to get to $13 trillion today.
  • $13 trillion in one dollar bills weighs 28 million pounds.  That’s as much as 87 blue whales or 462 Statues of Liberty.
  • If you laid 13 trillion one-dollar bills end-to-end they’d reach from the earth to the sun and back…five times over.  That’s 946 million miles of greenbacks.

The amount we’re looking at now—roughly $2 trillion between the Secretary Geithner’s new bank bailout plan  and President Obama’s stimulus package—isn’t small potatoes either.  So what is $2 trillion?

  • $2 trillion is bigger than the entire Gross Domestic Product of our neighbor to the north, Canada.  In fact, according to the IMF, only Japan, Germany, China, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy have bigger total economies than the combined bailout/stimulus plan—all other countries on Earth have economies smaller than $2 trillion per year.

Then there’s the interest on this staggering debt, which isn’t exactly small.  Paying the interest on the current $10.7 trillion debt cost Americans $451.1 billion last year alone.  How big is that?

  • That’s $1478 dollars in interest for every man, woman, and child in the United States.
  • That’s bigger than the annual budgets of  New York ($121.1 billion), California ($111.1 billion) and Texas ($83.8 billion) combined.

If you’re scared, upset, or disgusted by this, you can do something.  Visit BeyondBailouts.org and tell your Congressman and the President what you think of the bank bailout and stimulus.

You can also click on the “ShareThis” button at the top of this post to forward these fun facts to your friends or share them on your favorite social network.

Correction: I originally listed the state budget of Texas as $167 billion, but that figure was not annual.  Texas budgets for two years at a time, so the figure has been cut in half.